Contract Dealer Survey 2013: What They Really Think

By Darius Helm

 

As the commercial market starts to heat up, contract dealers are finding themselves busier than they have been in the last few years, but the market today is different from the one before the recession. Prices remain elevated, and budgets and construction schedules are as tight as ever. Competition remains fierce, and it doesn’t help that, with manufacturers selling more product direct, contract dealers are increasingly forced to compete against their own suppliers.

The fundamental challenge facing flooring contract dealers is how readily, given the right circumstances, product is valued over service. The slow and unsteady recovery from the longest recession since the Great Depression has helped create an uneasy, nervous market. And the grim long-term outlook for energy and raw material prices has done little to buoy spirits. The pressure is on end users to make the most out of every dollar spent, and the hurt passes all the way down the line, through the general contractors, to the contract dealers.

The issue of manufacturers going direct has been developing for nearly 20 years. Before that, manufacturers treated contract dealers more like clients, and mill reps had close relationships with them. But the distribution revolution of the mid ’90s saw suppliers tearing down the old model and selling to anyone they could. What fell through the cracks was accountability—who was responsible for the finished floor?

When the manufacturers sell direct to the end user, the contract dealer is essentially brought on for the singular purpose of installing the floorcovering, and that can cause significant problems. There’s a lot more to a finished floor than just the installation, including a whole lot of logistics and timing, along with all the technical issues surrounding floor prep and specifying the right flooring product for the application. The only entity that has expertise in both product and process is the contract dealer, so when the dealer is only brought on as the installer, all the other elements of the process tend to get neglected, things don’t run smoothly, additional costs come up—and people start blaming each other.

However, as one contract dealer pointed out, these things often run in cycles. It’s likely that at some point one of the major mills will do the math and decide to no longer sell direct, setting up a trend for others to follow.

For the complete Contract Dealer Survey results, see the December 2013 issue of Floor Focus Magazine.

Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

Domotex Asia Set for March 24-26   Full Article
Shanghai, China, Sept. 12, 2014 -- Domotex Asia/Chinafloor will be held March 24-26 in Shanghai.

Retail Sales Increase Broadly in August   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 12, 2014 -- U.S. retail sales rose 0.6% in August, as consumer bought automobiles and a variety of other goods, according to the Commerce Department.

Consumer Sentiment Highest in More Than a Year   Full Article
Ann Arbor, MI, Sept. 12, 2014 -- U.S. consumer sentiment rose in September to its highest level in more than a year, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index.

Greenberg Fund Awards Two Scholarships   Full Article
Manchester, NH, Sept. 12, 2014 -- CCA Global Partners has announced the recipients of two $5,000 scholarships through the Alan Greenberg Scholarship Fund.

Dover Rug & Home Opens Boston Showroom   Full Article
Boston, MA, Sept. 12, 2014 -- Dover Rug & Home has opened a second location in Boston in the Back Bay.

Armstrong Headquarters Gets LEED Recertification   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Armstrong World Industries said its corporate headquarters building has been awarded LEED Platinum recertification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Shaw Contract Names Winners of Design Contest   Full Article
Cartersville, GA, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Shaw Contract Group announced the winners of its annual Design is… competition.

Initial Unemployment Claims Rise Last week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 315,000 last week, up from the previous week's revised total of 304,000, according to the Labor Department.

Dal-Tile Holding Groundbreaking for Tennessee Plant   Full Article
Dickson, TN, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Dal-Tile is scheduled to hold an invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony this afternoon for its new $180 million plant in Dickson County, according to the Tennessean newspaper.

Foreclosures Edge Higher in August   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Foreclosures rose in August the first time in nearly four years, according to tracking firm RealtyTrac.

CFI Presents Awards at Annual Meeting   Full Article
Kansas City, MO, Sept. 11, 2014 -- The Certified Floorcovering Installers recently presented awards at its annual convention.

Tandus Centiva's Ethos Certified Cradle to Cradle   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Sept. 11, 2014 -- Tandus Centiva said it has been Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver for its Ethos modular soft surface products by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

Wholesale Inventories, Sales Rise in July   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 10, 2014 -- Wholesale inventories ticked up in July by the smallest amount in a year, according to the Commerce Department.

NAHB Praises Legislation to Limit EPA, Army Corps   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 10, 2014 -- The National Association of Home Builders has commended legislation that would limit the authority of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over "waters of the U.S."

Mortgage Applications Decline Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 10, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week as interest rates rose for the first time in four weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Bona Opens Training Center in Dallas   Full Article
Aurora, CO, Sept. 10, 2014 -- Bona US said it has opened a new regional training center in Dallas.

Job Openings Near 13-Year High   Full Article
Washington, DC, Sept. 9, 2014 -- The number of U.S. job openings remained near the highest level in 13 years in July, according to the Labor Deparment in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey.

Oriental Weavers Expands Presence at High Point   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Sept. 9, 2014 -- Oriental Weavers said it will open a new showroom and double the size of its High Point presence at the upcoming October market.

Armstrong Adds Installation System to Natural Creations   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Sept. 9, 2014 -- Armstrong Commercial Flooring has added its luxury vinyl tile installation system called I-Set to its Natural Creations collection.

Mohawk Study Looks at Carpet in Hospital Setting   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, Sept. 9, 2014 -- A Mohawk-funded study shows that carpet tile relieves environmental stressors in hospital settings more effectively than terrazzo and rubber flooring.